Final, 3-0 Real Madrid: It’s over at Anfield. Real Madrid tops Liverpool.
The gulf in class between the teams was evident, and it didn’t take long for the gap to reveal itself. Real Madrid won comfortably thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s and Karim Benzema’s first-half goals. Real Madrid might have scored more in the second half, but it played the last 45 minutes at a medium pace.
It was a disappointing evening for Liverpool. Real Madrid punished Liverpool’s mistakes, and the hosts didn’t offer much resistance or hope for a comeback.
The result leaves Real Madrid at the top of the Group B standings with nine points from three games. Liverpool sits third with three points from three games but is tied on points with both Basel and Ludogorets.
That’s all for now and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion that is on the way on NESN.com.
86th minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Can shoots from distance but fails to hit the target.
85th minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Nacho replaces Marcelo in Real Madrid’s final substitution.
84th minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Sterling meets Johnson’s cross with a flashing header, but it deflects off of Arbeloa and goes out for a corner kick.
81st minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Illarramendi comes on for Kroos, as Real Madrid makes its second substitution.
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80th minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Modric hits a low shot from 25 yards out. Mignolet collects it easily.
75th minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Ronaldo exits. Khedira replaces him.
Ronaldo scored his first-ever goal at Anfield, setting the tone for Real Madrid.
73rd minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Rodriguez has an effort from 12 yards out, but it rolls wide.
72nd minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Lallana and Allen appeared to craft a scoring chance inside Real Madrid’s goal-mouth, but Lallana was ruled offside.
70th minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Sterling hits a right-footed shot on goal, but Casillas parries it over the crossbar.
68th minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Liverpool is making its final pair of substitutions. Markovic and Can replace Coutinho and Henderson, respectively.
64th minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: The ball pings to Ronaldo, who eludes Moreno’s tackle, walks in on goal and shoots. Somehow, Mignolet saved it out for a corner kick.
62nd minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Ronaldo disposes Skrtel, dribbles forward and shoots powerfully on goal, forcing Mignolet to punch it away at the near post.
57th minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Ronaldo misses the target from an angle nobody but he can shoot from (and get away with it).
56th minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Sterling darts into Real Madrid’s penalty area and tries to shoot, but Pepe blocks it before it can reach Casillas.
54th minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Liverpool is looking more positive in the second half. Sterling and Lallana are combining well up front, but Liverpool hasn’t been able to create scoring chances from it.
52nd minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Balotelli is out of the game because he swapped jerseys with Pepe at halftime, according to multiple reports.
50th minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Rodriguez curls a left-footed shot over and wide of the far post.
48th minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Sterling is leading Liverpool’s front line. Lallana is working from the left, and Coutinho is on the right.
The three attackers likely will interchange throughout the half.
46th minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: The second half is underway.
Liverpool made a substitution at halftime, removing Balotelli and replacing him with Lallana.
Halftime, 3-0 Real Madrid: That’s the end of the first half. Liverpool trails by three.
The first period hardly could have gone worse for the Reds. Liverpool started brightly, but Real Madrid grew into the game, and Ronaldo struck halfway through the first half. The goal seemed to drain Liverpool’s confidence and belief. Real Madrid took further command of the game, and Benzema scored twice in the next 15 minutes.
The half showed what little margin for error there is in the Champions League. When Liverpool made defensive mistakes, Real Madrid punished it ruthlessly.
Liverpool must summon the spirit of Istanbul in order to gain a foothold in the game. Liverpool pressed and harassed Real Madrid’s ball-playing midfielders early on to great effect. The Reds found trouble when they dropped off their opponents, allowing them too much time and space on the ball.
45th minute +1, 3-0 Real Madrid: Coutinho fires a shot from 30 yards out, but it crashes off the post.
43rd minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: Balotelli slides a pass to the top of the penalty area. Allen arrives and shoots, but it rolls just wide of the post.
41s minute, 3-0 Real Madrid: It’s a calamity at the back for Liverpool, as Benzema scores again.
Nobody could head a corner kick before it fell inside Liverpool’s penalty area. Pepe scrambled to it first. Then it deflected to Benzema, who tapped it home.
35th minute, 2-0 Real Madrid: Kroos is cautioned for a foul on Sterling. The German midfielder barged into Sterling, as the Liverpool forward tried to counter-attack.
30th minute, 2-0 Real Madrid: Benzema doubles Real Madrid’s lead with a looping header.
The sequence started with a corner kick and ended when Kroos floated a pass to the far post. Benzema rose above the defense and headed back into the other side of the goal.
28th minute, 1-0 Real Madrid: Ronaldo shoots wide from the arc at the top of the penalty area. Liverpool gave Ronaldo too much time and space there.
23rd minute, 1-0 Real Madrid: Ronaldo puts the visitors in front.
Rodriguez received a pass from Ronaldo and returned it to him with a delightful chip into the penalty area. Ronaldo out-raced Skrtel and beat Mignolet with a half-volleyed shot.
21st minute, 0-0: Rodriguez misses with a shot following Kroos’ corner kick.
18th minute, 0-0: Real Madrid has increased its defensive pressure and made things more difficult for Liverpool in the last few minutes. After the early spell in which Liverpool was the protagonist, Real Madrid has taken a greater share of possession and is pushing the game into Liverpool’s half.
13th minute, 0-0: Liverpool is on the front foot early on, having forced a couple of corner kicks in quick succession.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez is on the sidelines receiving treatment for a nasty-looking cut over his eye.
11th minute, 0-0: Gerrard hits a dipping shot from distance. Casillas saves it, but his stop wasn’t entirely convincing.
Eighth minute, 0-0: Ronaldo cuts inside and shoots from 20 yards out, but it flies straight to Mignolet, who saves it.
Fifth minute, 0-0: It has been a fast, but cagey, start. Neither team has managed to mount a serious threat on goal.
Kickoff: The Champions League game between Liverpool and Real Madrid is underway at Anfield.
Pregame: The lineups look like we imagined they would.
Liverpool has restored Coutinho, Allen and Moreno to the starting lineup. Moreno watched Saturday’s win over QPR from the bench, while Coutinho and Allen made positive impacts as second-half substitutes.
Liverpool’s starting lineup appears to be as strong as it could be (minus Sturridge), and Lallana, Can, Markovic and Lambert can add new dimensions from the bench.
Real Madrid won’t have Bale’s services Wednesday, but its lineup still is formidable. Rodriguez and Isco likely will create from the wings, while Benzema leads the line centrally and Ronaldo threatens from everywhere.
Modric and Kroos will look to manage the game’s tempo in the middle and shield the defense.
Arbeloa starts at Anfield against his former team.
2:15 p.m.: Here are the lineups:
Simon Mignolet (22), goalkeeper
Alberto Moreno (18), left back
Martin Skrtel (37), center back
Dejan Lovren (6), center back
Glen Johnson (2), right back
Steven Gerrard (8), midfielder
Joe Allen (24), midfielder
Jordan Henderson (14), midfielder
Philippe Coutinho (10), forward
Raheem Sterling (31), forward
Mario Balotelli (45), striker
Brad Jones (1), goalkeeper
Kolo Toure (4), defender
Javier Manquillo (19), defender
Emre Can (23), midfielder
Adam Lallana (20), midfielder
Lazar Markovic (50), forward
Rickie Lambert (9), striker
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Iker Casillas (1), goalkeeper
Marcelo (12), left back
Rafael Varane (2), center back
Pepe (3), center back
Alvaro Arbeloa (17), right back
Luka Modric (19), midfielder
Toni Kroos (8), midfielder
James Rodriguez (10), midfielder
Isco (23), forward
Cristiano Ronaldo (7), forward
Karim Benzema (9), striker
Keylor Navas (13), goalkeeper
Nacho Fernandez (18), defender
Daniel Carvajal (15), defender
Sami Khedira (6), midfielder
Asier Illarramendi (24), midfielder
Medran (26), forward
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (14), striker
Noon ET: It’s time for Liverpool to show what it’s made of.
Liverpool hosts Real Madrid on Wednesday in a UEFA Champions Group B game at Anfield. It’s hard to overstate how big of an occasion or challenge this will be for the Reds.
Liverpool will be without injured striker Daniel Sturridge when it faces the reigning European champions. But manager Brendan Rodgers will be able pick a strong lineup from an almost full-strength squad of players.
The incomparable Cristiano Ronaldo will lead Real Madrid’s high-powered attack, but the visitors will be missing one of his main side-kicks, Gareth Bale, who is out with a muscle injury. Defender Sergio Ramos also will miss the game due to injury, while the status of both defender Fabio Coentrao and midfielder Luka Modric is questionable. But Real Madrid has plenty of depth and quality to compensate for these absences.
The teams last met in 2009, when Liverpool won the Champions League Round of 16 meeting by an aggregate score of 5-0. Times have changed, as have the players involved, but a matchup between these historic clubs always will command the soccer world’s attention.
Liverpool-Real Madrid kicks off at 2:45 p.m. Join us right here for all the action from Anfield.
Photo by Twitter/@br_uk